Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jon Jones did not steal the show this weekend

On Saturday night, UFC light-heavyweight (205 lbs.) champion Jon 'Bones' Jones put on quite an impressive performance in shutting down challenger Rashad Evans. It was a highly anticipated fight with a one-sided outcome; however, it was not the only one that happened this weekend.

If for some reason you missed it or you just slept on it, Bellator 66 from Cleveland Friday night had a great main event. It featured two of the absolute best lightweights (155 lbs.) in the world as former Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez (23-3, 13 KO's 7 subs) faced off against current 'Dream' champ Shinya Aoki (30-6, 1 KO 19 subs). If the picture above of Alvarez doing his patented victory back flip from the top of the cage gives you any indication, you can just imagine the outcome.

A rematch of a fight that took place between the two in Japan three years ago where Aoki, the submission wizard, tapped out Alvarez in less than two minutes via heel hook; this time everything was in reverse. The fight Friday took place in the United States and this time it was Alvarez needing only two minutes to pull out a victory as he pummeled Aoki into submission. The official result was a TKO from a barrage of punches, which forced the referee to stop it; but Aoki's corner had mercifully thrown in the towel long before that.

For Alvarez, it was sweet victory for many reasons. For one, he was coming off a title losing affair against Michael Chandler last year. Second, it was personal vindication avenging a loss he had against one of the top five lightweights in the world. Finally, it came at a crucial time when he's at a crossroads in his career with his contract now up at Bellator.

In his post fight interview in the cage when asked what this victory meant to him, Alvarez responded by saying, "It means show me the money Bjorn Rebney." Rebney is of course the CEO at Bellator and Alvarez is obviously setting up the bidding war for his services between his current employer and the UFC. While Rebney is saying all the right things, I'd be very surprised if he is able to hold onto Alvarez's future.

As for Alvarez, he too is saying all the right things. He says his life is in a good place right now and that his change in camps has made him an even better fighter; that remains to be seen, but while it took Jones five rounds to garner a decision win against a top flight opponent, it took Alvarez only two minutes. So for this weekend at least, it wasn't Jon Jones who stole the show, but rather it was Eddie Alvarez.

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